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It's our job as marketers to solve these problems, but sometimes the answers aren't so apparent. Specifically, how can we run a campaign when there's little or no search volume?

Do we automatically switch to another channel, such as Facebook, where prospecting can sometimes be easier? Do we rely more heavily on display ads? Do we use existing site traffic to run remarketing campaigns?

Here are five tactics to overcome issues related to low search volume and drive more revenue from your paid marketing campaigns.

1. Keyword Research

This first tactic is both the simplest and sometimes the most complex. Of course we should be doing exhaustive keyword research. And if you haven't, start now. But sometimes we can find only so many keywords through traditional means. That's when mining your call data comes in.

Yes, many companies are using call recordings to help train their sales teams and monitor customer interactions, but calls can also hold a wealth of info for new keywords: What words and phrases are customers using to describe your product or service? Are they mentioning any pain points that you hadn't previously thought of?

This process can be somewhat labor-intensive when there are hundreds of calls to pore through, but even going through just 10 calls can provide a wealth of data. If you're looking to go through more calls, however, you can employ an AI solution to automatically mine phone calls for keyword ideas.

2. Social Promo

Depending on the vertical, Facebook and other social platforms can be a killer channel for directly generating leads and sales. But for B2B marketers, Facebook's role can often be somewhat nebulous. The key is to run campaigns with engaging, helpful content that will build brand equity, drive prospects to your site, and inform those prospects about your product and the benefits it provides.

Although social promotion doesn't translate directly into search volume, it does several other things:

  1. Fill up your retargeting list, which allows you to not only serve more display-ad impressions but also use remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA). More on the latter later.
  2. Generate top-of-funnel interest in your product, which ultimately will turn into some searches. As a whole, this is a good complementary strategy for any search campaign.
  3. Make prospects more likely to convert once they move into the lower part of the funnel. Doing so is crucial: Although you can't convert those prospects directly now, you can increase the rate at which you close them later.

3. Display Expansion

Maybe you're already running some display prospecting ads and doing some remarketing, but when you're looking to make up for a lack of search volume, focusing on display can be a powerful way to drum up actual volume and drive additional leads.

Instead of a broad prospecting campaign and a single remarketing campaign, segment further based on the info you have to deliver hyper-specific ads that'll resonate more with prospects. For example, let's segment our remarketing performance by landing pages viewed and drive pricing-specific ads to people that exited on our pricing page; let's increase frequency of ads being shown to site visitors that have been to the site within the last week; and so on.

4. Harnessing Existing Traffic

When you're using all of the above tactics, even with low search volume for your core target keywords, you're still going to be generating a lot of traffic to your site; and that's important because you can then harness that traffic to target new keywords in Google search. RLSA, or remarketing lists for search ads, allows you to specifically target searches on Google from users who have already been to your site.

When you use RLSA in conjunction with some of the keywords you came up with earlier, you can start to bid on tangentially related searches for your product that might help a specific user. Those would be keywords that you might not normally bid on, but because you know this prospect has been to your site, she will convert more reliably than if you were bidding on the keyword flat out.

For example, if I run a bakery, I might not bid on "baking recipes," because the searcher's intent to purchase from my bakery isn't necessarily there, but if I know the person has been to the site, then I might pay for some of those searches in hopes that the next time she wants a baked good, she'll think of us.

5. Focusing on Conversion Rates

Probably the most obvious of all the options here, focusing on conversion rate testing can help make the small amount of traffic you do get more profitable. Yes, split-test your ads and run different landing pages, but also employ site-testing software that can help you run a higher volume of tests more quickly. You can also use tools like call transcriptions to gain additional insight into customer behavior so you can better align your messaging and convert more traffic.

Braving the digital wilds of marketing in 2018 can sometimes be difficult, but fortunately we can all be equipped with tools that help us thrive.

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Overcoming PPC Hurdles: Low Search Volume

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image of Zack Bedingfield

Zack Bedingfield is a search engine marketing professional based in Atlanta, Georgia. He manages the paid spend for CallRail, a SaaS call-tracking company.

CallRail provides lead tracking and call analytics tools for more than 65,000 businesses across the US, Canada, and several other countries. Want to know where your leads are coming from and how qualified they are? Sign up for a completely free 14-day trial of CallRail's award-winning software. No credit card needed.